BRANDON, Fla., May 2 — As a rule, when Americans feel financially pinched, the causes are clear: high unemployment, soaring interest rates, depressed home values and a wilting stock market.
But many Americans now say they are feeling squeezed in the absence of these factors. Their concerns are instead centered on a combination of high gasoline prices, creeping insurance costs and the pressure of a large number of adjustable-rate mortgages, now jumping to market rates, that helped to fuel one of the largest housing booms in American history.
Though they may not fear for their jobs or worry about long-range financial health — national polls show a general satisfaction with the economy — their kitchen-counter economy is an increasing source of everyday anxiety.
"We're really worried about a lot of things," said Nancy Tuttle, co-owner of a vending machine business in the suburbs here. "The cost of gas, the cost of house insurance, the cost of medical insurance, it's just everything."
The increase in prices, particularly of gasoline, is taking a political toll on President Bush, even in a Republican area like these suburbs. A recent nationwide CBS News poll found that only 33 percent of those surveyed approved of Mr. Bush's job performance and that 74 percent disapproved of his handling of the gasoline issue.
"We went from totally believing in Bush to really having our doubts," said Wayne Toomey, who owns a house with Ms. Tuttle in the nearby suburb of Parrish. "It comes down to his lack of care about gas prices."
I personally don't know anyone who has a "general satisfaction with the economy." Not a single person- even the most looney-tunes, several hearts and and stars short of a box of Lucky Charms conservatives I know think the economy's going in the toilet.Yeah, the stock market's doing well. For the moment. Nobody expects that to last.
I guess these lucky duckies who feel satisfaction with the economy will be the ones who will go to Europe this year and be shocked, shocked at the exhcange rate of the dollar to the Euro...
And I also await the inevitable NY Times article on the same.